Scientists ID Genes Tied to Left-Handedness

Scientists ID Genes Tied to Left-Handedness
News Picture: Scientists ID Genes Tied to Left-Handedness

THURSDAY, Sept. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For the first time, scientists have found four spots on your DNA that might determine whether you wield your pen with your left hand.

Of the four gene regions, three are associated with proteins involved in brain development and structure, according to a genetic analysis of about 400,000 people in the United Kingdom, including more than 38,000 left-handers.

The study also found that “in left-handed participants, the language areas of the left and right sides of the brain communicate with each other in a more coordinated way,” said Dr. Akira Wiberg, a University of Oxford medical research fellow who did the analysis.

“This raises the intriguing possibility for future research that left-handers might have an advantage when it comes to performing verbal tasks, but it must be remembered that these differences were only seen as averages over very large numbers of people, and not all left-handers will be similar,” he said in a news release from UK Research and Innovation, which funded the study.

The findings were published Sept. 4 in the journal Brain.

Scientists already knew that genes play a role in determining handedness. Studies of twins suggest that genes account for 25% of the variation in handedness, but the genes had not been pinpointed.

“Around 90% of people are right-handed, and this has been the case for at least 10,000 years. Many researchers have studied the biological basis of handedness, but using large datasets from UK Biobank has allowed us to shed considerably more light on the processes leading to left-handedness,” Wiberg said.

The study also found links between the genetic regions involved in left-handedness and a very slightly reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, and a very slightly higher risk of schizophrenia.

Studying these genetic links could help improve understanding of how these serious conditions develop, according to the researchers.

“Here we have demonstrated that left-handedness is a consequence of the developmental biology of the brain, in part driven by the complex interplay of many genes. It is part of the rich tapestry of what makes us human,” study co-senior author Dominic Furniss said in the news release. He’s a professor in the Department of Orthopedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science at Oxford.

— Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: UK Research and Innovation, news release, Sept. 4, 2019



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AHA News: So You Think You Can Survive a Heart Attack? Nigel Lythgoe Tells His Story

AHA News: So You Think You Can Survive a Heart Attack? Nigel Lythgoe Tells His Story
News Picture: AHA News: So You Think You Can Survive a Heart Attack? Nigel Lythgoe Tells His Story

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4, 2019 (American Heart Association News) — Reality TV brought fame and fortune to Nigel Lythgoe. So, it’s no surprise he can spin entertaining tales about the real-life drama he experienced with his heart.

But the man once dubbed “Nasty Nigel” for his bluntness as a talent show judge sounded downright empathetic as he explained why he tells those tales.

“Listen,” he said, “I suffered a heart attack before I realized how important it was to look after my heart. I hope other people realize long before they have a heart attack, and they live a long and healthy and happy life.”

Lythgoe’s ability to tell a good story has made him one of the world’s most successful TV figures. A creator and judge for “So You Think You Can Dance,” his long list of credits includes, perhaps fittingly, being director and producer on the British version of “Survivor.” He became a household name in Britain as a judge on “Popstars” and was a longtime executive producer of “American Idol.”

His first heart crisis struck in January 2003. He had just gotten back from a vacation in Barbados with “Idol” judge Simon Cowell, whom Lythgoe jokingly blames for what happened.

“He had me dancing all around this hotel,” Lythgoe said, before adding: “I used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day as well. Which obviously didn’t help.”

He was in the editing suite working on the second season of “Idol” when it happened. “I was literally in the edit with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.”

He thought he had indigestion and lay down to rest. “The next day I was still feeling bad,” he said, but he kept working. Finally, on the third day, his wife convinced him to see his doctor.

“He examined me and said, ‘Oh my God – you’re having a heart attack!'”

Which was a surprise, he said, because he looked healthy, with his post-vacation glow. “I was tanned and brown to the point that my doctor said, ‘I’m calling an ambulance for you. Can you try and look ill?'”

Doctors found a blocked heart artery and used a stent to open it up. But about eight years later, his heart had another nasty surprise in store.

He had gone to see a movie – “Cloud Atlas” – one afternoon and was alone in the theater when he suddenly felt dizzy. He staggered out of the cinema.

“I saw the poor girl behind the popcorn counter. I said, ‘Call an ambulance, please.’ And with that I keeled over.”

He was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and ended up needing a pacemaker, a defibrillator and three ablation procedures to destroy heart tissue that was causing his heart’s electrical malfunctions. “Since 2012, I’ve been good,” said Lythgoe, who turned 70 in July.

Looking back now, he understands the mistakes he made when it came to his health. A longtime dancer, he choreographed for hundreds of TV episodes, working with the likes of Ben Vereen, Shirley Bassey and the Muppets.

“There was never a point in my life when I felt vulnerable to anything.” He was arrogant, he said, and thought, “Oh, I can eat fries. I can do this. I can do that. I’m a dancer. I keep my shape.”

But as he sees it, “The great thing about surviving a heart attack is you really do then take care of yourself. If you’re lucky enough to survive it.”

He’s since given up smoking, sugar and dairy, and does Pilates twice a week.

He’s serious about working to help others not make the same mistakes he made. He and “Hairspray” director Adam Shankman were together in Los Angeles and San Diego this spring to help with a collaboration between the American Dance Movement, a nonprofit they founded to build healthy communities through dance, and the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge.

Lythgoe’s message about the lessons he’s learned is, once again, direct.

“Nobody in this life gets out alive. But the big thing for me is to just stick around as long as you can. And if you don’t look after your heart, if you don’t look after your entire body, you’re not going to be around as long as you should be.”

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American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]




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In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.
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Health Tip: Broken Nose Care

Health Tip: Broken Nose Care

(HealthDay News) — After breaking your nose, you should rest, ice it and keep your head elevated, says MedlinePlus.

When caring for a broken nose at home, MedlinePlus reminds people:

  • Do not remove any packing or splints unless instructed by your doctor.
  • Take hot showers to breathe in the steam.
  • Clean the inside of your nose with a cotton swab.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and sports until your nose heals.
  • If you take any medicine nasally, talk to your doctor first.

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More Than 1,000 People Now Sickened by Salmonella from Live Poultry

More Than 1,000 People Now Sickened by Salmonella from Live Poultry

TUESDAY, Sept. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An outbreak of Salmonella linked to backyard poultry flocks has now sickened more than 1,000 people in 49 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Latest Infectious Disease News

A CDC advisory said 235 cases have been reported since July 19 and 175 people have been hospitalized. Two people have died in the outbreak — one in Ohio and one in Texas.

Nearly 200 of those sickened are under age 5.

Contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, is the likely source of the disease, which causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, CDC said.

Those sickened reported getting poultry from several sources, including farm stores, websites and hatcheries.

Six of the strains making people sick have been identified in samples from backyard poultry areas at homes in California, Minnesota and Ohio and from retail stores in Michigan and Oregon, CDC said.

The current outbreak is the largest linked to backyard poultry since 2017, when a record 1,120 people were sickened and one died.

As the CDC explained, you can get Salmonella after touching poultry or places where they live and roam. Birds carrying the bacteria can appear healthy and clean.

To prevent illness, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching poultry or anything in their environment, CDC advised. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer.

Never let backyard poultry inside your home. Take care to keep them away from areas where food or drink are prepared, served, or stored, including outdoor patios, the CDC added.

Salmonella infections usually last four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment, the CDC said. If you’re concerned about symptoms such as a fever over 102 degrees, blood in your bowel movements or frequent vomiting, see a doctor.

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Bowel regularity means a bowel movement every day.
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Kids in Hot Cars: How to Prevent Heatstroke Deaths

Kids in Hot Cars: How to Prevent Heatstroke Deaths
News Picture: Kids in Hot Cars: How to Prevent Heatstroke Deaths

THURSDAY, Aug. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Hot car deaths set a U.S. record last year, with 53 children dead because they were left behind or got trapped inside an overheated vehicle, according to the National Safety Council.

So far this year the tally is 35.

Children are especially at risk because their body temperature can rise three to five times faster than that of an adult, according to the safety council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And closed vehicles can heat up 19 degrees in just 10 minutes.

The safety council and traffic safety administration are reminding Americans how to prevent such deaths:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times when parked to prevent children from getting in and becoming trapped. Teach your kids that cars and trucks are not play spaces, the safety experts say in a news release.
  • Never leave a child in a vehicle, even for a minute. Rolling down windows does little to keep a car or truck cool, and children have died from heatstroke even in cars parked in shaded areas.
  • Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe on the backseat as a reminder to look behind you for a child before locking the car.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call 911 and get help immediately.

On average, 38 children under age 15 die each year in the United States from being in a hot car. Since 1998, only three states — Alaska, New Hampshire and Vermont — have been spared. Deaths have occurred every month of the year, including winter months.

— Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: National Safety Council, news release, July 31, 2019



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The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as:
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